Posts in Category: Performance Poetry

Elogio de la gordura (Elegy to Obesity) by Rigoberto Paredes

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Honduran poet Rigoberto Paredes reads at the 15th International Poetry Festival at Medellin. Here’s the text of the poem, together with a translation.

Elogio de la gordura

Loada sea la gordura, su grasa
llena de gracia, la curva
tensa y relumbrante de sus contornos.
Dichosos sean los seres de ancho follaje,
donde todo el que quiera
halle puesto seguro para pasar la noche.
Gocen de buena fama
esos seres flamantes, exagerados,
vivos retratos de la abundancia.
Ábranles campo por donde vayan;
no los hagan perder
el tiempo, el peso, la vida.
Convídenlos a la mesa, a la cama
(sin mayores recatos ni privaciones)
y celebren en público, a sus anchas,
los deliciosos fastos de la gordura.

Elegy to Obesity

Blessed be obesity, its grease
full of grace, the perfect
and resplendent curves of its contours.
Happy are they of ample arbor
where all who desire it
may find a sure port to pass the night.
They enjoy a good reputation,
these radiant, excessive beings,
the very images of abundance.
They open new frontiers wherever they go;
they don’t let anything go to waste,
neither time, nor dough, nor living.
Invite them to table, to bed
(neither with great reserve nor privation)
and living large, publically celebrate
this delicious extravagance, obesity.

Digging by Seamus Heaney

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Poem by Seamus Heaney

Video from the BBC, according to the YouTube poster:

A montage of archive clips of Seamus Heaney “Digging”. From BBC NI’s “Seamus Heaney: A life in Pictures” broadcast 15/04/09.

Aaj Bazar Mein by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

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Poem and recitation by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Video by umer05, whose description is worth quoting in full:

Faiz Ahmed Faiz is amongst the most famous poets of last century. Faiz, who was hounoured by Lenin Peace Prize in 1963, was seldom subjected to arrests by the right-wing pro-imperialist military regimes of Pakistan. Once, during the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq, he was arrested and taken to the police station in front of the public. In this context, he wrote ‘Aaj Bazar mein’.

The video starts with a ‘mushairah’ (public recitation), where Faiz presents the poem, and describes its context. Then the video, with the melodious voice of Nayyara Noor in the background singing the verses of Faiz, shows the sufi culture of Pakistan, which was suppressed by the religious fundamentalist government of Zia-ul-Haq. Then, there are some clips of public floggings and public hangings of political dissidents, which were employed to ingrain terror in the people of Pakistan. Public floggings were a norm during Zia’s time. The video, then, takes us on a trip to a well-known red-light area of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This red-light area is in the neighbourhood of a very famous mosque, a contradiction unresolved.

Úr órum Tobba (From the Madness of Tobbi) by Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl

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Poem and reading by Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl

This is a sound-poem in homage to a 17th-century Icelandic nonsense poet called Æri-Tobbi, or Crazy Tobbi, whose poetry is discussed at length in a fascinating essay archived at Norðdahl’s blog: “Mind the Sound” (hat-tip: Poetry News).

The categorical difference between sound-poetry and instrumental-music (including sound-poetry’s cousin, scat-singing) is that the listener inevitably interprets what he or she hears as ‘language’ – not only is it the framework that the work is presented within, but it’s also inherent to much of the actual work, that it actually ‘resembles’ language. […]

In early 2008 I wrote the poem ‘Úr órum Tobba’, (trans. From the madness of Tobbi) a six-to-seven minute long sound-poem carved from Æri-Tobbi’s zaum. The poem was first performed at the Scream Poetry Festival in Toronto, at the Lexiconjury Revival Night, and has in fact not been performed since (although published on CD, along with more of my sound-poems).

‘Úr órum Tobba’ is at once a found poem and sound poem, collaged and cut-up lines of zaum taken from the quatrains, tercets and couplets of Æri-Tobbi – the first of the thirteen stanzas is written thus:

Axar sax og lævarar lax
Axar sax og lævarar lax
Hoppara boppara hoppara boppara
stagara jagara stagara jagara
Neglings steglings veglings steglings
Skögula gögula ögula skögula
hræfra flotið humra skotið
Axar sax og lævarar lax

Each stanza has eight lines, and all are intersected with two of Æri-Tobbi’s most famous zaum-lines:

Agara gagara agara gagara
vambara þambara vambara þambara

Facing It by Yusef Komunyakaa

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http://youtu.be/IaeNQC7PWK4

Poem by Yusef Komunyakaa

Read by Michael Lythgoe for the Favorite Poem Project

“Methought I saw my late espoused Saint…” by John Milton

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Sonnet 23 by John Milton

Recited by Ian Richardson, from the 1984 TV series “Six Centuries of Verse,” directed by Richard Mervyn

If I Controlled the Internet by Rives

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Poem by Rives, from TED (video link)